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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Class Calls Sega’s ‘Key Master’ Game Rigged

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Sega's "Key Master" game is rigged to pay off only after enough money has been spent on it, not whether a player "wins," a class action claims in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Yael Kempe sued Sega Amusements and affiliates and Play It! Amusements, alleging unfair competition and consumer law violations.

The game has "pictorial instructions which indicate that the player will acquire the targeted prize if he or she successfully fits the key into the keyhole, which is confirmed by the format of the machine," according to the complaint.

To win a prize, "a player of Key Master must maneuver a remotely controlled arm carrying a key into just the right place such that the machine will then insert the key into one of a number of vertical lock-shaped cutouts. According to the pictorial instructions on the Key Master machine, if a player's aim is true, the key rotates to snag the 'lock' and pull it forward, dropping the prize into the bin for retrieval."

But Kempe claims the game rewards players only "after a certain amount of money has been deposited into the machine, regardless of whether the player successfully navigates the game's controls and therefore 'wins' the game as its pictorial instructions describe."

She claims the "defendants omitted the material fact that a prize is highly unlikely to be dispensed each time a player is successful because the game is specifically pre-programmed by defendants not to dispense a prize to every player who successfully fits the key into the lock unless a certain amount of money has been deposited by consumers."

The game has been profitable for Sega: that it was the company's number one game in test locations upon release and won the 2012 Operator's Choice Award "based on its 'high quality and earning power,'" according to the lawsuit.

Kempe claims the reason the game is so successful is because it is rigged.

Kempe claims she paid $25 to $50 to play the game, and though she "unlocked" a prize once, it did not dispense and she won nothing.

She seeks class certification, restitution, damages for unfair competition and consumer law violations, and an injunction forcing Sega to change the machine to appropriately dispense prizes.

Kempe is represented by Marisa Livesay with Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman and Herz, in San Diego.

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